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Expression of sex-determining genes in scalp of men with androgenetic alopecia


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Expression of sex-determining genes in the scalp of men with androgenetic alopecia

BACKGROUND:
The regulation of the cutaneous steroidogenesis in patients with androgenetic alopecia remains largely unclear.

OBJECTIVE:
The purpose of this study was to quantify the expression of the sex-determining genes in different scalp areas.

METHODS:
Paired scalp specimens from frontal and occipital scalp areas of 10 patients were examined by real-time RT-PCR for mRNA expression and of 40 patients (mean age 34.9 years, range 22-58) by Western blotting for protein analysis.

RESULTS:
The SOX-9 mRNA was most abundant in the skin, while SF-1 mRNA was sparsely detected. The protein levels of DAX-1, SRY and WT-1 were significantly higher in the bald scalp (p=0.003, 0.004 and 0.03, respectively). Only the SRY expression showed a positive correlation with the baldness severity in Norwood-Hamilton classification (p=0.024). There was no association between patient’s age and the protein levels. Immunostaining of SOX-9 was detected in the outer root sheath keratinocytes of hair follicles but not in the dermal papillae.

CONCLUSION:
Further study on a larger population, including normal subjects and female patients, is needed to confirm the pathogenic role of sex-determining genes in androgenetic alopecia.